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Archive for the ‘In-Person Classes’ Category

Teach Them What They Don’t Want to Know. A report from the field.

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Recently, I taught a PubMed class at the public library targeted at clinicians. For almost a year I kept a folder at my desk (yes, a manila folder) that I would add notes that I scribbled on paper about content for the class. I had well over an hour of material and an hour and fifteen minutes to present it in. I reserved the computer lab (for free) and set out to drum up some attendees (seats 10). I am lucky enough to have the headquarters for the American Academy of Family Physicians in my town, so I gave them a call. I also tapped a doctor friend, who sent the class announcement to some well-placed medical educators. Seven RSVPs. Woo hoo! I am good to go. On the week of the class, I sent out a reminder. One email bounced back to me as “undeliverable”. The person no longer worked there. Uh oh. A second person responded that they wouldn’t be able to make it after all. OK, now I’m down to five. In the end, I had two people attend; a Pediatric Nephrologist and a Pediatric Nurse Clinician. Two is more than zero. Remember that kids.

I scheduled the session from 6:30-7:45 (closing time for the lab) and now here’s the part where I boldly went where not all go…I also scheduled a 30-minute optional session from 6-6:30. I advertised this as a time to sign up for a My NCBI account. I’ve heard from so many librarians that doctors, nurses and students don’t want to take the time to create a My NCBI account; it’s just another username and password they have to remember. I said, tough (to myself). Part of learning how to use PubMed to your advantage includes creating a My NCBI account. The good news for my small group was that the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) is on the list of 3rd party sign-in options found on the My NCBI login page. All they had to do was remember their KUMC login credentials, which they use every day. This made them happy.
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How Many Attendees are Enough?

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

stockfresh_5559584_reaching-for-a-star_sizeS-203x300Note: The NTC wishes to thank Karen Vargas and the NN/LM OERC for permission to repost this blog from http://nnlm.gov/evaluation/blog . It seemed especially relevant to what we as the NTC are about and do, as well as to the OERC.

I enjoyed reading an article in Public Libraries titled “The Grass Is Always Greener” by Melanie A. Lyttle and Shawn D. Walsh.  They discuss the complexities of deciding whether a program was “well attended” or “nobody came.”  Sometimes a program that seems well attended in one situation is the same as a poorly attended program in another.

I can think of a lot of times I’ve experienced this exact situation. When I was a branch manager at a public library, the program manager at the main library would ask if she could send authors to speak at our branch library.  When I said, “maybe you should send them somewhere else – we only had ten people come to the last one,” she replied “ten is a lot – ten is more than we get anywhere else.”

When I worked at the NN/LM South Central Region, in some parts of the region 30 people could be expected to attend training sessions.  In other parts of the region, we considered 6 people a successfully attended program.  These differences often corresponded to urban vs. rural, or the travel distance needed to get to the training, or whether the librarians were largely solo librarians or worked in multi-librarian organizations, or whether their institutions supported taking time off for training.  Other considerations include whether the trainers had already built an audience over time that would regularly attend the programs. Or on the other hand, whether the trainers had saturated their market and there were very few new people to learn about the topic.

So how can you decide what a good target participation level should be, or maybe more importantly, how can you explain your participation targets to your funder or parent organization?

Tying your participation level to your intermediate and long-term intended outcomes is one way to do that.  Let me give you an example of a program in Houston that was funded by the NN/LM South Central Region. The Greater Houston AHEC received funding many years ago to do an in-depth training project with a small number of seniors in the most underserved areas of Houston.  The goals were to teach these seniors how to use computers, how to get on the Internet, how to use email, and then how to use MedlinePlus and NIHSeniorHealth to look up health information.  They planned for the seniors to take 2-3 classes a week, and each class lasted several hours. It was a big commitment, but they intended for these seniors to really know how to use the Internet at the end of the series.  There were so few seniors who saw the need to learn to use computers that they had to persuade about 10 people from each location to sign up.  However, the classes were so good and the seniors so enthusiastic, that after a couple of weeks, the other seniors wanted to take classes too.  This led to a phase 2 project which included funding for a permanent computer and coffee area in a senior center where students could practice their Internet skills. There is now a third phase of the program called M-SEARCH which teaches seniors to use mobile devices to look up their health information.

At the beginning, Greater Houston AHEC may not have envisioned these specific outcomes.  However, if they were trying to convince a funder that 10 person classes were a reasonable use of the funder’s money, it might be good to show that small in-depth classes could lead to a long-term outcome like “seniors in even the poorest neighborhoods in Houston will be able to research their health conditions on NIHSeniorHealth.”  In addition, it would be important to bring in other factors, such as your intended goals for the project, for example whether you hope to have a small group of these seniors that you can train to really use the Internet for health research or whether you want to reach a lot of seniors in underserved areas to let them know that it’s possible to find great health information using NLM resources (see the Kirkpatrick Model of training evaluation for more information on evaluating your training goals).

For more on creating long-term outcomes, see Booklet 2 of the OERC’s booklets: Planning Outcomes-based Outreach Projects

Training the Trainers at the U

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Training. It’s what we do at the National Library of Medicine Training Center. Although we spend a great deal of time training librarians and others around the United States, we also realize the importance of opportunities to learn and develop by attending training ourselves.

Systematic Reviews have begun to take a prominent place in the discussion and work of many academic and health sciences librarians. For these reasons, the University of Utah has invited Joseph Nicholson, Coordinator for Systematic Reviews Services at the New York University Academy of Medicine, Health Sciences Library, to provide an in-depth session with case studies, practical exercises and expertise for Eccles Health Sciences Library, NN/LM MCR staff, and NN/LM NTC staff.

The all-day event will take place on January 25, 2016 at the Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah.

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Adults Seeking Health Information Online

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

More and more U.S. adults are turning to the Internet for health information. A recent graph published in MMWR by the CDC shows that during 2012-2014, 33-49% of adults reported looking up health information on the Internet during the previous 12 months. The percentage was highest among adult residents of large fringe metropolitan counties and lowest among adult residents of rural counties. Where did people go to find this information? According to the Pew Research Center, “73% of all those ages 16 and over say libraries contribute to people finding the health information they need.” There is little question that librarians of all types will continue to play a role in helping to connect users to the health information they desire.

Your Regional Medical Library is a great source of ideas and training on how to help your users locate the authoritative information they need through National Library of Medicine resources and databases. And, the National Library of Medicine Training Center provides in-person and online training to keep your knowledge and skills up-to-date. Check out the calendar of upcoming training events you might be able to take advantage of in the new year. A number of self-paced tutorials and recordings from selected training sessions, including PubMed and TOXNET, and also available. Man with laptop drinking coffee in a cafe

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
top-100-tools-for-learning-2015-1-638NTC staff follow a number of blogs, online forums, listservs, and Twitter feeds related to learning and instruction. Jane Hart is a well-regarded international speaker and writer on modern approaches to workplace learning. Jane is the also the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), one of the world’s most visited learning sites on the Web, where she also compiles the very popular annual Top 100 Tools for Learning list from the votes of learning professionals worldwide.  Her blog, Learning in the Social Workplace, was recently rated top of the 50 most socially shared Learning and Development blogs.

Recently, the blog published the Top 100 Tools for Learning for 2015. For the seventh year running Twitter is the Number 1 tool on the list, although this year it is very closely followed by YouTube, and, once again, the list is dominated by free online tools and services. Jane observes, “I can also see some interesting new trends in the tools that are being used for both personal learning and for creating learning content and experiences for others.”

Some “Big Movers” on the 2015 list – moved up sixteen or more places – including Skype, OneNote, SharePoint, and Kahoot. To read the full blog post, including the complete presentation of the 2015 list, visit:Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015.